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MACRO TOPIC 1.4

Garden of Eden was man's first encounter with God

First law and first sin

Adam and Eve in Garden of Eden
PURPOSE: Helping Christians engage in intelligent and persuasive conversations with doubters and unbelievers
Bible creation questions

QUESTIONS

answered on this page

Tough questions people are asking today about Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden:

Were Adam and Eve the first humans on earth?

How could Adam bring sin into the world if Satan was already there telling lies and if Eve ate the forbidden fruit first?

Was the world a perfect paradise before Adam sinned?

Was everything originally immortal (never dies) and then became mortal (dies)? Isn't that an oxymoron?

If the earth and everything in it was perfect, then Adam was perfect, so how could a perfect being be enticed into sin by Satan?

If dinosaurs died before Adam, how could Adam's sin cause all death?

If the earth were perfect (from our point of view), how could one man ruin it? Wouldn't that be a design flaw?

Is everyone born guilty for Adam's sin even though they had no part in it?

Will people burn in hell forever, even if they never heard about Adam or Jesus?

How can a Christian give an intelligent and compelling biblical answer to people who think that the Garden of Eden is just a fairy tale and that it's preposterous for anyone to believe that one man ruined the world by eating an apple?

▼Back

INTRODUCTION

What happens here

Confident Christian

For most people outside of the church, the story of Adam and Eve is just a fanciful tale, usually referenced with sensual overtones and mockery.

Christians often have bad experiences in discussing it with adult children, grandchildren, relatives, friends, neighbors and associates. So most Christians rarely talk about it. Outwardly they give assent to the story as it's usually told, but inwardly most Christians have a lot of private doubts about it.

It's an unbelievable story as perceived by the secular world: Adam, the first man, eats forbidden fruit, and because of his sin, death comes into the world and everything dies. God gets angry because Adam ruined His perfect creation and pronounces every human on earth guilty at birth for this sin, and as punishment, everyone is sentenced to burn in hell forever. The only exemption from eternal torment is a small minority of people who accept Jesus Christ as Savior and go to heaven. But most people never hear or understand this offer of salvation. No matter, they burn in hell forever at the hands of a loving and just God.

No wonder why the secular world is confused and repelled by this message and why Christians don't have confidence in telling it. As told by church tradition, the story is so horrendous and contradictory that it makes one's head spin.

This page gives you a framework and summaries for clear thinking about the doctrines and implications of the Garden of Eden story.

Informed Christian

The story of Adam and Eve is not so much about the narrative itself as it is about the church doctrines which have been developed from the narrative.

A major problem here is separating what the Bible actually says from the many layers of church tradition. Readers are surprised to see how traditions have stretched and added to the biblical account over time.

This page discusses five major theological issues within the story, and within each issue you'll find links to other Bible studies on this site to take you deeper into sub-topics.

Interesting Christian

If you study this page – and especially if you also study the pages linked to it – you'll sound to the ordinary person like someone who's been to seminary. People will respect you because you seem to know what you're talking about, based on your first-hand investigation, and because, when questioned, you can support your positions by pointing directly to scripture.

This page gives you the information needed to engage in a wide range of interesting theological conversations about the foundations of Judeo-Christian faith.

FOUNDATION FOR DOCTRINE

Jews, Christians, and Muslims

Almost everyone knows about Adam and Eve

Almost everyone in the United States has heard something about the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. It's just a fanciful tale to most people outside of church, often referenced with sensual overtones and mockery.

Man thinking about Bible and sin

Most people – even Christians – don't know the full story as told in the Bible. Most have never read it carefully themselves and cannot speak with confidence about it.

In both church culture and popular culture, so much has been added to the story that it hardly resembles what the Bible really says.

The purpose of this Bible study is to help Christians understand and explain from scripture the full Garden of Eden story and the theology derived from it.

This study will help Christians recognize the add-ons that theologians and religious groups have appended to the story over the centuries.

The story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden is told in Genesis 2:8 thru 4:26.

Story is foundational for Jews, Christians, and Muslims

This Bible study is not so much about the story itself as it is about the theological doctrines which have grown out of the narrative.

Genesis was written about 3,000 years ago. Over time many extraneous concepts have been interwoven into the story so that people now think the Bible says more about Adam and Eve than it actually says about them and the consequences of their sin.

The story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden is foundational theology for Jews, Christians, and Muslims – the 55% of the world who are monotheists.

Many different denominational belief systems have developed from the story.

Doctrines are derived from the story

Doctrines are the individual teachings of synagogs, churches, and mosques. All major religious groups have splintered many times over doctrines – and are still splintering today – with each splinter group claiming to have the correct understanding of the scriptures.

The original text of the Eden story is not in question. Everyone agrees on the actual words as written in Hebrew. The differences are only in translation and interpretation of the words and each group's particular stretches and add-ons.

This Bible study – and the supplemental studies linked from this page – display relevant scripture verses on five major theological questions, all arising from the Eden story, that have become barriers to faith for doubters and unbelievers.

ISSUE 1

Was the earth a perfect paradise?

Why this matters

The common Christian belief is that the earth was a perfect paradise – not even any death –until Adam sinned by eating forbidden fruit ... his sin brought death and misery into the world ... and he ruined God's perfect creation.

It sounds like utter nonsense to doubters and unbelievers and is a major barrier to Christian faith.

Christians believe it because this is what they have been taught by church tradition over the centuries. Most Christians, however, have never personally gone to the Bible to see if this is what the Bible actually says.

Bible doesn't say the earth was a paradise

Everyone who believes that the earth was originally 'perfect' (from a human perspective) cites one verse as authority: 'God saw all that he had made, and it was very good' (Genesis 1:31).

This is the only verse in the entire Bible that speaks directly to the subject. A few other tangent verses are sometimes mentioned, but they don't say the earth was perfect; see Bible study here on Romans 5 and I Corinthians 15.

So from two words – 'very good' – a theological concept was developed by early church fathers which say that the earth was a perfect paradise until Adam sinned ... no discomfort, no problems, no illness, no death. But that's a stretch and add-on to what Genesis 1:31 actually says.

The verse says simply that God was very pleased with His creation. He had a plan. He implemented the plan perfectly. He looked at His physical creation and pronounced it ready to carry out His eternal purposes. That's all those two words say. Anything more is adding to scripture.

There ARE verses in the Bible which tell us that the earth was NOT a 'perfect paradise' as most Christians like to describe it:

  • Genesis 2:15: 'God took the man [Adam] and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.' Work and care would not be needed in a perfect paradise.
  • Genesis 2:18,20: God realized that Adam needed a helper, but 'no suitable helper was found,' so God had to create one. In a perfect paradise, a helper would not be needed, or at least a suitable helper could be found.
  • Genesis 3:1: Satan was already in the Garden sinning by tempting Adam and Eve. A perfect paradise would not have Satan tempting people.
  • Genesis 3:16: The curse on Eve was not to initiate pain in childbirth, but to 'greatly increase' it. Pain had already been present in the world.
  • Genesis 1:12,22,25-26: The land produced and multiplied [past tense continuous] all kinds of vegetation, trees, animals, and 'all the creatures that move upon the ground.' Unrestrained growth causes overcrowding, which is not paradise. Death and decay are necessary to prevent suffocation.
  • I Timothy 5:24: 'God – the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, who alone is immortal ...' If there were no death on earth before Adam sinned, that means that Adam and Eve were once immortal, but this verse and all of scripture says that only God is immortal. Furthermore, it is an oxymoron to say that anything immortal can ever become mortal. If the entire earth were perfect, then Adam and Eve, part of the earth, would have been perfect and unable to be seduced into rebellion against the Creator.

In interpreting scripture, the words of Jesus take precedence over all other words in the Bible. What did Jesus say about Adam ruining the perfect creation? Nothing. Nothing to say because it never happened. It is dogma developed long after Jesus' resurrection and ascension. In fact, there is no record in the Bible of Jesus ever even mentioning Adam's name. If Adam caused such calamity on earth, certainly Jesus would have told us.

Earth has always been a dangerous place

God did not create a static universe but rather a universe of constant change and peril. Physically, our earth is just a tiny part of an unfathomable cosmos that is still expanding and cooling.

Cave men before Adam in Bible

The earth is rotating daily on an annual orbit around the sun. This movement causes weather conditions of hot and cold, sun and cloud, dry and wet, still and wind.

The weather causes thunderstorms, lightning, fires, droughts, tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, monsoons, floods, blizzards, and glaciers.

There are flies and mosquitoes in the air ... sharks and alligators in the water ... wild beasts, snakes, and spiders on the land. Creatures of every kind – even small organisms like bacteria and viruses – create innumerable dangers for us on planet earth.

There is no evidence from the Bible, science, or history that the earth was ever a tranquil paradise without violence and death. This is not God's mistake or shortcoming. This is how God intentionally created earth as the place for phase one of His eternal plan for human beings.

We live on a thin crust floating on a gigantic ball of molten rock. Because of curvature, the crust has cracked into pieces (tectonic plates) that collide with each other and reconfigure continents and oceans. The plates thrust up mountains, causing earthquakes and volcanoes.

The earth is rotating daily on an annual orbit around the sun. This movement causes weather conditions of hot and cold, sun and cloud, dry and wet, still and wind.

The weather causes thunderstorms, lightning, fires, droughts, tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, monsoons, floods, blizzards, and glaciers.

This is not a multitude of mistakes. There is no evidence from the Bible, science, or history that the earth was ever a tranquil paradise without violence and death. This is how God intentionally created earth as the place for phase one of His eternal plan for human beings.

Growth and multiplication without death is no paradise

We see paintings of Adam and Eve living an idyllic life without work, discomfort, sickness or death ... lounging with abundant food at hand ... surrounded by animals completely at peace with each other.

This is a picture painted by imagination and tradition, not by the Bible. This kind of portrayal of the Garden of Eden undermines the credibility of the Bible and puts the Christian message in the same category as a fairy tale.

When God created the earth, as recorded in Genesis 1, God commanded each kind of life to grow and multiply, and it did.

Accordingly, now imagine a place with trees, vines and bushes so thick a person can hardly move ... so many animal habitats that it's difficult to find a place to sleep ... the ground covered with ants and snakes, uncomfortable for sleeping naked (before sin) ... animal and bird droppings all over ... Adam and Eve picking reproducing fruit, but what do the carnivores eat?

Unbelievers scoff at Christian naivety for thinking that physical death is always bad and that growth and multiplication is always good. Death is essential for life not only for food but also because it prevents suffocation and clears the way for new life.

Death is not a design flaw. God designed both life and death in intricate balance.

Growth and multiplication without death is no paradise. The earth has never been a paradise in the fantasy sense.

ISSUE 2

Were Adam and Eve the first humans?

Why this matters

The issue here is that Bible genealogies (see genealogy chart) show that Adam lived about BC 4000. If Adam and Eve were the first humans ... and if God created them in the same week He created everything else ... then nothing on earth is older than 6,000 years (or 10,000 years, allowing for possible gaps in the genealogies).

There is overwhelming scientific evidence that the earth is billions of years old and that there has been human activity and migrations for at least 40,000 years. This is taught as settled science in all Universities and schools of every kind, except Christian education.

This sets up a conflict: Either the Bible is right, or science is right, and everyone must choose one or the other. Presented with that stark choice, most people choose science.

If the Bible is wrong about the first humans, they reason, it is probably wrong about other matters too. So increasingly, the Bible is being regarded as an irrelevant ancient book that cannot be trusted, and Christianity in the United States is declining rapidly.

Christians are doing just the opposite of what Jesus told us to do. Our mission is to make disciples (Matthew 28:19). Forcing the stark choice is a major reason why, as share of population, we are losing disciples instead of making disciples.

The purpose of this study is to re-read and re-think the Eden story in light of modern knowledge to see if the Bible really compels the stark choice.

Read Genesis 1-4 as two stories

Most people have been taught in church that Adam and Eve were the first humans on earth, but few have ever seriously studied God's six-day creation and the story of Adam and Eve direct from the Bible.

Adam and Eve eating forbidden fruit in Garden of Eden
People just assume that it's a single continuous story, never realizing that it's probably two stories: Creation (Genesis 1:1 thru 2:3) and Eden (Genesis 2:8 thru 3:24), with a summary transition statement (Genesis 2:4-7) and thousands of years in-between.

The creation of humans occurred in Day 6, but the Eden story occurred in Day 7, explained in the Bible study on God's creation days.  

A 'day' (Hebrew yō·wm), as used in Genesis 1, is longer than 24 hours.

The Genesis 1 creation story tells only that God created humans, male and female, but doesn't mention any individuals or human choices. The Genesis 2-4 Garden of Eden story tells about individuals and choices.

The Bible study here about people before Adam shows that Adam was the first sinner but does not compel a conclusion that he was the first person.

ISSUE 3

Did Adam's sin cause all death on earth?

Why this matters

Bible genealogies say that Adam lived approximately 4,000 BC. Many Christians, perhaps most, believe that the earth was a perfect paradise until the moment he sinned and brought death into the world.

This creates two problems that have become barriers to faith for people outside of the church:

PROBLEM 1. This means that nothing on earth died until about 6,000 years ago.

So people are thinking: How can any intelligent person today believe in a book that is totally contrary to what we know to be true, i.e., overwhelming scientific, archeological, and historical evidence that there has been life on earth – living and dying – for millions or billions of years?

PROBLEM 2. This means that God must not be perfect if one man could thwart God's plan and wreck what He created.

So people are thinking: It sounds like a serious design flaw. How could an all-powerful and all-knowing God be blindsided and let such a horrendous thing happen? The Bible must be a fantasy story full of contradictions and cannot be trusted.

The purpose of this Topic 1.4 is to re-read and re-think the Eden story to see if the Bible really says that the earth was perfect and without any death before Adam sinned. Maybe it's Christian traditions – not the Bible – that create these credibility problems and turn people away from the Bible and from Jesus.

Earth has never been immortal

Everything physical is mortal (will cease to exist), even non-living things, including the stars we now observe imploding into black holes. Eventually, the earth itself will die.

Satan tempting Adam and Eve in Garden of Eden

'The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way ...' (2 Peter 3:10-11).

If there were no death before Adam, that would mean God created everything immortal – even Adam – but there is nothing in the Bible to even hint that the earth or any part of it was once immortal. In fact, it's an oxymoron: Immortal means never die, so how can something immortal become mortal?

Human condition

The human condition – the default condition – like the condition of everything else in God's creation, is that eventually, we die. Death is not a design flaw or mistake. God knew exactly what He was doing and what would happen.

Death is a practical necessity to prevent overcrowding and suffocation ... to sustain the food chain ... to enable continuous growth and change ... and to give meaning to eternal life.

Death preceded sin

There is ample evidence that the cycle of life-and-death was functioning on earth long before 4000 BC, the time the Bible says sin first entered the world 'through' Adam (not 'because' of Adam), studied in depth in the Bible study here on original sin and Romans 5.

If there was death on earth before Adam, then Adam's sin cannot be the cause of  death.

Romans 5:12-13 and I Corinthians 15:22 and 15:45-47 are the principal passages of scripture cited for the belief that Adam's sin caused all death. These passages are studied in depth in the Bible study here on sin and cause of death. Upon close examination, these passages don't say what most people seem to think they say.

What about Children? OK, God does something special. What about adult incompetent? Adult never heard. All guilty?

ISSUE 4

Is everyone guilty for Adam's sin?

Why this matters

Most Christians shrug off the unjust horror of original sin by saying that it really doesn't matter because all anyone needs to do is accept Jesus as Savior, and then it's no longer an issue.

The problem is that many people are so repelled by this perception of Christianity that they never get to that point.

Getting it right is not a matter of how original sin affects us, but how it gives other people a wrong understanding of God's character and becomes a serious barrier to faith, contrary to the mission given to us by Jesus.

We should not ascribe to the Bible more than it actually says, especially when stretches and add-ons become turn-offs for doubters and unbelievers.

Original sin

The story of Adam and Eve raises this theological question: Does God ever hold a person guilty for the sin of another?

Adam and Eve sinned and expelled from Garden of Eden
How we answer the question here sets the pattern for our understanding of sin and eternal life in all parts the Bible.

A majority of Christians – Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox – have been taught that the full guilt for Adam's sin is placed on every human being and that, without salvation through Jesus, everyone will burn in hell forever because of this imputed guilt, even apart from one's own sin, and even people who never heard of Adam or Jesus.

Everyone, church tradition says, is born guilty and condemned to hell.

This doctrine is known as original sin, inherited sin, transmitted sin, and ancestral sin.

None of these terms appear anywhere in the Bible.

Doctrine developed hundreds of years after Jesus

The doctrine of original sin – that we are all guilty for Adam's sin – was conceived by theologians long after the death of Jesus, the Apostles, and all the New Testament writers.

Jesus taught only that we are guilty of our own sins. There is no record of Jesus ever even mentioning Adam's name.

The doctrine of original sin had its origin in the writings of Tertullian (160-220) and Cyprian (200-258). It was popularized by Augustine (354-430), Luther (1483-1546), and Calvin (1509-1564).

Developed from three verses

The doctrine of original sin was built primarily upon these three verses:

'Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.' (Romans 5:12)
'Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.' (Romans 5:18)
 'For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ will all be made alive.' (I Corinthians 15:21-22)
There are 31,102 verses in the Bible, but these are the three verses upon which the doctrine of original sin was built, a very small biblical footing for such a monstrous doctrine!

Christians talk about original sin as though it is a theme that runs through the Bible. Not so. It rests upon three verses pulled out of a broad context of free will and individual choice.

Even with these verses out of context – read them again! – one has to strain to try to make them say that everyone is guilty of Adam's sin. It's a big stretch, and it's adding to scripture.

If Adam caused a horrific change in God's master plan and basic human nature, we would expect the Bible to contain more than three brief – and questionable – references to such an event that affects the life and destiny of every person ever to live on earth. We would certainly expect Jesus and his twelve Apostles to have said something about it, but they never mentioned Adam or any such catastrophic event.

Proponents of the doctrine of original sin sometimes also cite these additional verses for support, but notice that they don't mention Adam or a catastrophic event:

  • 'Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me' (Psalm 51:5). This verse simply says that King David was born into a sinful world and that his mother, like everyone, was a sinner.
  • 'Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward, spreading lies' (Psalm 58:3). This verse simply says that people have free will and a sinful nature, which become evident at a very early age (obviously not at birth because newborn babies don't spread lies).
  • 'Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath' (Ephesians 2:3). This verse simply says that everyone has a sinful nature (free will to disobey) ... the sinful nature is why we sin ... and we deserve punishment. This doesn't make a case for universal guilt for Adam's sin.

Concept of federal head

Proponents of the doctrine of original sin say that Adam was 'federal head' of the entire human race, the representative who made decisions on behalf of all humankind with binding eternal consequences for every person who ever lives at any time or place on earth.

Nowhere does the Bible say that God appointed Adam to be federal head of the human race. This is conjecture without any biblical support.

Furthermore, nowhere does the Bible say that people are ever individually guilty before God for the sins of their leader, even though they may suffer worldly consequences because of a leader's misdeeds and bad decisions.

'The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father' (Deuteronomy 24:16). 'The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers' (Ezekiel 18:20). The Bible teaches that people will stand before God at the judgment for their own sin, not for the sins of their fathers.

Punishment for descendants infinitely greater than for Adam

Under the doctrine of original sin, all of Adam's descendants are punished for Adam's sin more than Adam himself was punished. Adam's punishment was expulsion from the Garden, denial of further access to eternal life, hard work and toil as a farmer, and then physical death.

God said nothing about him or his descendants burning in hell forever. It's hard to imagine that a just and loving God would sentence billions of innocent people to an infinitely greater punishment than He gave to the guilty person for the same sin.

Deep study on original sin

The theologians who constructed the doctrine of original sin did not have any personal interaction with Jesus or his disciples. Hundreds of years had passed. Oral transmission was no longer consistent and trustworthy, so for truth, they studied the same verses in the Bible that we study today.

Now we can study these verses as well – even better – than they could in their day, for reasons explained at today we know more.

Proponents of the doctrine of original sin build it primarily on their interpretation of Romans 5:12-21. This passage, and others, are examined verse-by-verse in the Bible study here on original sin.

ISSUE 5

Will people burn in hell forever?

Why this matters

People outside of church think that God – if they believe He even exists – must be cruel and unjust to place the most hideous punishment possible on everyone, even newborn babies, for a sin they didn't commit or even know about.

This repulsive image undercuts everything Christians can say about God's love and justice. It portrays God as an angry monster.

People can understand punishment for one's own sins – punishment commensurate with the offense – but original sin is so contrary to love and justice that it can hardly even be imagined.

Being able to die in hell eventually would be an act of mercy ... but torture FOREVER is unimaginable cruelty.

Punishment for sin

Any deep conversation about sin – and original sin in particular – raises the question of punishment.

Bible: Burning in hell is not forever
The traditional Christian belief is that sinners without salvation through Jesus will be punished by burning in hell, unable to die, for all eternity.

Doubters and unbelievers cannot see any love or justice if all unforgiven sinners are arbitrarily punished the same way, forever, unable to die, especially people who have never even heard about Adam or his sin, or about Jesus and his offer of salvation.

The Bible makes it clear that there is a hell for unforgiven sinners after judgment ... BUT hardly anyone asks where in the Bible it says that people will burn in hell FOREVER. Where does the Bible say THAT?

If anyone responds at all to that question, it is usually with an abbreviated quote from one or more of these six verses:

  • '... into hell, where the fire never goes out' (Matthew 18:18)
  • '... eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels' (Matthew 25:41)
  • '... eternal punishment ...' (Matthew 25:46)
  • '... punishment of eternal fire' (Jude 7)
  • ' ... And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever' (Revelation 14:11, in a dream, referring to people in an age to come 'who worship the beast and its image')
  • 'They will be tormented day and night forever' (Revelation 20:10, in a dream, referring to the devil, the beast, and the false prophet)

However – read carefully! – these verses do not say that any person alive now or in the past will burn in hell FOREVER.

These verses say only that the FIRE (not people) will burn forever (except for some people in a future age, along with Satan and his demons) ... and that the punishment (sentencing) is eternal (final, no hope of any reprieve).

Contrary to burning FOREVER, JESUS SAID clearly that people will eventually die, burn up, be destroyed, consumed, and perish in the everlasting fire prepared for Satan and his demons.

There are 36 verses in the Bible on the subject of punishment and duration in hell. All of the verses are laid out and discussed in the Bible study here on time in hell.

DON'T ADD TO THE BIBLE

man-made barriers to faith

How it sounds outside of church

There is universal agreement regarding the exact content of all Bible manuscripts as they were originally written in Hebrew and Greek.

But people come to different conclusions about how to translate and interpret the original manuscripts, influenced primarily by the tradition of one's family, friends, and church.

There is a tendency, especially among theologians, to find something new in a passage – making assumptions, stretching meanings, or appending add-ons – to make it say more than it was meant to say.

There are over 2,500 different church denominations, each studying the same Bible, and each believing it has the right view on every theological issue.

Over the centuries, this has resulted in traditions becoming so interwoven with scripture that most people cannot tell the difference.

Most Christians read the Bible for comfort, inspiration, guidance, religious duty, and/or affirmation for what they already believe. Most read the Bible at the surface level through the lens of their own church dogmas, and few study it with an open mind.

Among Christians inside the church, the differences usually don't matter much because the core message is loud and clear: We are sinners in need of Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior, who paid the penalty for our sins by his substitutionary death on the cross and who now offers forgiveness, strength, guidance and eternal life as a free divine gift to all who truly desire it and gratefully accept it.

Woman troubled by reading the Bible

But among many people outside the church, especially the younger generations, their impression of the Bible is an incoherent jumble of ancient stories, factual distortions, and weird ideas.

For example, consider the following commentary on the four topics discussed on this page.

See how clear Bible teaching becomes intertwined with theological stretches and add-ons.

Even when limited to just the five topics discussed above (Questions 1-5), imagine how the STRETCHED Bible message comes across to doubters and unbelievers:

● BIBLE SAYS: The universe didn't just happen by itself by chance from nothing. It is the result of God's intelligent design and majestic creation.
✗ BIBLE STRETCHED: God created everything in a week of six 24-hour days in the approximate year BC 4000 ... the earth may look old ('apparent age') but nothing is older than 6,000 years ... nothing in the universe existed before that week.
● BIBLE SAYS: Adam was the first human to have a personal encounter with God ... Adam received clear instructions (first spiritual law) from God and became a spiritual being, accountable to God, with opportunity for eternal life ... In Eden, God began a personal relationship with humans and initiated a whole new spiritual dimension to human life ... Adam was the first sinner.
✗ BIBLE STRETCHED: Adam, an immortal human created about BC 4000, was the first person on earth ... there was absolutely no human activity on earth before him.
● BIBLE SAYS: Adam's sin was that he wanted to be his own god, the same fatal sin we struggle with today ... unresolved sin results in punishment and denial of eternal life.
✗ BIBLE STRETCHED: The earth was once a perfect paradise ... one man wrecked God's marvelous creation in a moment ... Adam's sin is the cause of all death ... nothing ever died until about 6,000 years ago.
● BIBLE SAYS: God confronts Adam for his sin ... Adam gives excuses, blaming Eve and Satan ... God holds him personally guilty for violating clear and simple spiritual law.
✗ BIBLE STRETCHED: Adam was 'federal head' of the entire human race, acting on behalf of everyone who would ever live ... so every person is born guilty of Adam's sin and is bound for torment in hell forever because Adam ate forbidden fruit.
● BIBLE SAYS: God will punish people who become their own god or follow other gods ... after physical death, there will be resurrection, judgment, and punishment in hell ... the good news is that forgiveness and salvation is now offered free to everyone through Jesus Christ.
✗ BIBLE STRETCHED: As punishment for what Adam did, God gives people the worst kind of torture imaginable, burning in hell forever, unable to die ... even if they never heard about Adam or Jesus and had nothing to do with the sin for which they are being punished.

Stretches and add-ons

The commentary above illustrates how stretches and add-ons become huge barriers to faith. They seldom clarify. They usually confuse and repel. They destroy confidence in the Bible as a book of truth, make a mockery of God's love and justice, and prevent doubters and unbelievers from wanting Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

Unwittingly, Christians are creating reasons for people to trash God in their minds.

The Christian mission is to 'make disciples' (Matthew 28:19). To strengthen Bible credibility and draw people to Jesus Christ, Christians should be careful not to ascribe to the Bible more than it actually says.
'The heart cannot embrace what the mind cannot accept'
– Anonymous pastor
People are empowered by information

Internet and social media

People's beliefs today are formed less by institutions (government, universities and churches) than by personal investigation.

Personal relationships and believable answers.

Today the Bible has little or no credibility among most Millennials and GenZs – under age 38 – who now comprise the majority of the U.S. population. They are confused by the inconsistency they hear in Christian talk. Christians say, in this example, that God is a loving heavenly father but at the same time portray him as a cruel monster.

If burning in hell forever for someone else's sin is what the Bible actually says, we would have to accept it. But as this study shows, that is NOT what the Bible says!

people smarter. Internet. Social media.

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 Adam's sin is not the cause of all death on earth
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I like that explanation it makes since it has scientific evidence to back it up
Thank you I knew about these things but I did not understand
As much nonsense and stupidity as I have heard since big bang or evolution.
Of course. If Adam and Eve were the only humans and had children, who did the children copulate with? If it was each other, then everyone would have mental defects. The Adam & Eve story is just the beginning of the Old Testament.
I don’t think Adam was the first human on earth. I am 72 in age. Most people my age and older do not have this perception. But from my bible study I believe this Genesis points to others.
God created everything that was created in six literal days.
Your are wrong
Scientists make mistakes, and when the scientists' beliefs don't match the Bible then God's word, the Bible, is right, and the scientists are wrong.
Just another Satanic attempt to change God's WORD. More likely made up of Liberal Kids that don't know any better.
The main reason people believe that Adam was the first man is that is what someone told them. It’s man following man and not man reading the Bible for the truths that are in it.
You are very much on the right track.
The information that I read was very informative.
Thank you for your wonderful website. I have linked to it from my own. I'm looking forward to your expanding list of subjects.
Had to be people here before Adam, all the ancient buildings prove the civilizations were here. Many teens of thousands of years.
Would like to keep you on my site for further study. You made me think.
Very interesting
It's my first visit. Thanks for sharing.
So far you make a lot of sense, I do believe in God.
How great it is to have a resource to help in ministering to the sceptical. Thank you. Keep up the great work. Looking forward to upcoming studies.
These explanations make real sense.
All present dating methods are based on assumptions that cannot be proven. The methods do not meet scientific requirements of being observable, repeatable, and testable. They can reliable determine chemical compositions, but they CANNOT reliably give age..
Since your website is new and still in the making, it leaves me excited yet hungry for more understanding. Thank you so much for putting your website together to help those of us asking questions about traditional lines of thinking. I look forward to reading more!
You have an interesting take on how to reconcile the time difference challenge between Bible time history & archeology . I don’t think it will matter about which time viewpoint ya right. What matters is faith & trust in Jesus for forgiveness of sin & gaining eternal life
Right!
FInally someone uses their brain instead of emotions to explain what I have thought and tried to say for sooo long. Thank you!
I really liked what is written and honestly agree with the reasoning. May the Almighty broaden my mind to perceive and digest these facts.
My views on original sin have changed. Romans 5:12 says "all men die because all have sinned". What it doesn't say is "all men die because Adam sinned".
The big bang is a theory. God is a fact.
Just happened upon this site and wow! This is fabulous. I will be back. Thank you for putting this together and sharing it with us all. God bless you and your family.
Wrong!!
I really enjoy your website. I find your arguments compelling.
Only when ignorance, in the name of science, tries to be wiser than what scripture say, is when Gods Word is twisted, unto their own destruction
I agree there had to have been other people before Adam. The sons had children, with whom? Certainly not with their own mother or the gene pool would have died out.
I do not believe in a Supreme Being who created us in his image and likeness as quoted in the bible
This is great. God has shown this to me some time ago, but you are the first that has ever confirmed it. God is good.
Unbelievable. Was man there at the beginning to make this determination. No. The human race is so arrogant and ignorant.
Very informative and interesting.
This is great, I am going to read more of your topics!
Excellent
It's constructive that science keeps indefinitely improving with better observations and verifiable facts. Immutable good scriptures should simply keep itself relevant by subtle changes in its interpretation to complement and coexist with science. Good work!
Very informative. Keep up the good work. The world needs better understanding of God’s word.
I don't think I believe this
I found this to be extremely informative. I'd always had doubts about the "original sin" and being punished for my ancestors sins, but this explained why "original sin" doesn't really exist in a way that resonated with me. Thank you. I will definitely check this site more often.
very well done.!!
Yes to have a intelligence conversation is of most importance.
This is a fantastic article , thank you
Yes there were people before Adam, the cave Men and the ice Age.
This is wonderful. Would like to read more.
Someone has never had a real encounter with God and does not know the assumptions he is making with the scientific evidence. Sad when you don't know either God or Science
Fascinating to think about. Here is something also to absorb. Let Us make man in Our image. Who is Us? Why not let Me make man in my image. Sounds plural to me. Thank you for the compelling argument Adam is not the first man:)
Beautifully done and very reasonable. I’ve been struggling with the contradictions in the Bible and science for years. I believe that there is a God but I wasn’t always sure if the Bible Was Gods word or man made. Thank you! Makes so much sense!
Thanks for the analysis
Very,very informative! Thank you
Thanks, This is what I needed. I can't get enough of this marvelous study.
Very interesting to read.
About time!
Please let me know if it is available in a hardcover or paperback book.
When are more topics coming?
Very insightful
I will read this in its entirety. What I've read so far is right on according to my extensive studies over 27 years.
I am 75 years old. I was raised as a Roman Catholic. I have studied religions all of my life. I have so many problems with the Bible starting with Genesis. I agree with your assessment that Adam wasn't the first human on earth. The more that I learn, the less I believe in the bible and religion as a salvation. But I shall continue researching.
All bad things on the face of the earth are connected to sin , by one mans sin we were all condemned.
If for nothing else, this at least may cause someone to dig deeper.
Very interesting, food for thought. I have often wondered about this and have had many questions Thanks
Love the study
O my how i wish i could find a friend would be willing to discuss the bible openly with me.
awesome info keep up this good work
You have developed material that is vitally needed for reaching the newer generations.
Interesting topics. The bible is good for salvation but not for earth history
I'm preparing to teach my first Religious Instruction lesson for the year in a public Australian school tomorrow and we'll launch straight in to the creation story from the Bible. So thank you!! I feel confident now to answer any questions the kids might raise.
I am a Christian, and I have always been a “young earth” proponent. My son, also a Christian, is an “old earth” proponent, and we have debated this topic. After reading the content of this website thoroughly, I am willing to reconsider my position.
What you have said makes so much sense to me. I would love to read more of what you think.
An extremely good read.Would like very much to hear more.
Adam was the first person on this earth bottom line
Rational Evangelicals. Exellent.
Will this material be made available in print form for purchase?
Excellent points here.
I appreciate your thorough investigation into the Word of God.
I have always thought this to be true but have never heard it said! Praise God!
Much of what you share are things that have been revealed to me by the Spirit of God. Finally your site is out and does not counter Biblical script and does not hinder the Christian witness. Thank God.
Thank you so much for confirming what I had always thought!!! Our Father makes wonderous wonders!!!
Wrong all wrong
No scripture to back up your words.
Not bad, I'll have to check the Hebrew to double-triple check, for this kind of study the KJ is almost useless.
Interesting and thought provoking.
I appreciate your efforts at presenting the Bible as an accurate portrayal of what science has found to be true.
lov it
Blessings to you!!
I now have Biblical support for my belief.
Do you offer a textbook?
The reason the doctrine of original sin arose, was that Augustine couldn't read Greek and there was an inadequacy at certain points in the Latin translation, resulting in a misunderstanding.
When are you going to have more?
By observing ruins etc firsthand, my personal opinion is that man existed before Adam. Adam was the first God breathed His Spirit into.
This has certainly opened my mind, I believe in the Bible but could never get a lot of answers to my questions. Thanks
I really enjoy your site.
I like it! I always wondered about the dinosaurs, and whether other people lived before Adam. You see, the Bible says that Cain was worried about being slain by other people. So, what does that tell you? It's more to the Bible than some clergymen are letting on.
I want to learn it all.
Bwahahahahaha!!! Religion, please go away and die.
I am eagerly awaiting more topics.
This site is a literal God send! I've been struggling with reconciliation of what scripture says and what I've been taught through various denominations and their individual traditions. I'm so grateful, honestly, to have permission to think critically and to allow the Holy Spirit to teach me directly.
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